This was not my intended blog today, actually I didn’t plan on writing until a friend today posted a blog that struck a cord, the days before a friend gave me a little gift that struck a cord, and the day before a friend posted a blog that struck a cord (about a woman who posted a picture in her kitchen and she was flooded with comments of what she could do to update her home). Today my friend posted a blog from Proverbs 31 Ministries about perfectionism. I started to type a comment and realized it was entirely too long of a comment, because it is an ISSUE with me. PERFECTIONISM is an issue with me! I want people to see me as the one who has it all together – juggling jobs, home schooling, a mom, a wife, etc…
So which area do I address that has caused my “perfect” world to crumble.
Mary – oh we have a beautiful intelligent daughter. She is smart, talented, respectful, caring, etc… yep the PERFECT daughter. I think of the areas that I have unraveled when perfection didn’t happen. When we did public school, and she would run late, I would turn into an ugly monster. I would YELL about being late for school and she was making me late for work, etc.. She would walk into school already defeated and I would drive to work mad and honestly probably my driving reflected that. As my day would pass I would feel horrible and when I picked her up her day was horrible. I want to think it didn’t take long for me to catch on, and I never did it again, but I know I did. However, I eventually I woke up. I worried that people would think I didn’t have it all together – her lateness made me look imperfect. One day I just said I wasn’t going to be the crazy yelling mom in the mornings that had her starting her day horribly and dealt with it differently. I even got to the point on a few school days that I wrote the reason for lateness it was “just one of those mornings”. Unfortunately before I caught it, my perfectionism (or worry that people thought I was perfect) cost us many bad mommy/daughter days and ate away at our relationship.
Sam – oh we had the perfect family. A daughter and a happy healthy son. Then there was the doctor visit that said they didn’t think he was perfect and had Aspergers. I thought she was crazy and when I got the paperwork to fil out for an evaluation, I felt every child could fit in the category. Our son was perfect. He was happy, healthy, and loving. Well, long story short, the string the doctor pulled eventually unraveled and I can close my eyes sitting in the office as they told me what I already knew. (and yet I still cry when I remember that day). So, I had to choose, which I had done some before then, that “a label / a diagnosis” was not going to define him. I remember the first I.E.P. meeting when they laid out all of his weaknesses and I wanted to throw up, crawl in the corner, and let them keep kicking me. I remember the second I.E.P. meeting where I took the I.E.P. and highlighted it with how what his strengths were and how they were trying to define my child was not who my child was. Sam is the perfect Sam. At the beginning of every year, you often get a little piece of paper with a few available lines to tell about your child. Well I would attach a detailed letter of how our Sam was the perfect Sam. I have had lengthy conversations with people / teachers / professionals over his ability not his weaknesses. How the system is broken, not my son. He doesn’t fit into the “perfect school system” and “perfect standardized testing”, not because of Sam, but because of their testing! I am no longer the mama wolfe cowering in the corner because my son didn’t fit the perfect classroom/ system. Unfortunately, I wasted time trying to make him fit, before I realized he was never meant to!
My house – so, I want the “perfect house”, but my house is not it. I would say it was only close to being perfect the first 3 years of marriage and then I broke 3 vertebras in my back, my mom and grandma passed away, I had two high risk pregnancies with strict bedrest, have worked full time, have had 2 nephews move in / out, had 2 children we were told we would never have, etc… Yep life has happened. For YEARS I would have never let people in our home. It would ruin the vision of me. I have had on rare occasion people call and say they were coming and I would do a mad dash to get things on the surface cleaned. If it is the holidays, there will be 2 rooms reasonably cleaned and things hidden (only to try to remember where I placed them). For years, I have worried about what others think of my house and it has caused anger when people point out the many flaws. I want to scream my house is not your house. Granted my house doesn’t quite fit my vision, but I have made huge strides and have some great goals and plans in place. At the end, will it still need work – YEP, but I just ask for grace until complete. So slowly, I have allowed Mary to have friends over and say please warn them the house does not define who we are. We live in crazy but tons of love. It is a work in progress, but I want our house to be a house that people / teens can come to and feel love and fun. We have had a youth meeting and Mary had a group over this past weekend. My goal for perfection has cost me many times the laughter of people filling our home! The teens gathered around my imperfect table (chewed by our dog who was a puppy) with the orange carpeting (yes orange carpeting), dishes in the sink, tacos on the stove, mismatched plates, and all I noticed was the laughter. Sam and Jim did a nerf war in the house and I never once worried about anything that might break in the battle. Sure, the teens may think our house is crazy, and go home and tell their parents, but I think they left feeling love, laughter, and friendship and not worried about the orange carpet. I think about the time I left a friend sit outside while we talked because she was a newer friend and I didn’t want her to think less of me. It was Ellen – and for those who know Ellen, she loves unconditional! My desire for perfectionism has caused me anger toward people who criticize me/our house. Cost me years of not letting people in, when in fact those people should love me for me, not for my home. Does it mean I should leave it at this state of crazy – nope, but I am working on that progress. Until then, I hope to fill the places not filled with furniture and toys and stuff with laughter and love and acceptance. My friend gave me a plague that read “Good moms have sticky floors, dirty ovens, and happy kids.”
I may need to do a part two on my marriage, my body, my childhood, etc. (LOL).
Yesterday I made a apple pie, and it has bee YEARS probably over 10 years!!! As I rolled out the crust it was far from perfect but hey the bottom crust no one will see. The top crust a little better, but still not perfect. There would have been a day I would have thrown the crusts away and started over. But yesterday, I thought of the verse in I Samuel 16:7b “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” My family would not look at the crust and say I won’t eat the pie because the crust doesn’t look perfect. My real friends will not look at my home and think less of me for it (and if they do it is time to reevaluate friendships). People who really know me don’t look at my imperfect body and think anything less of my heart. Oh the price of perfection, but it is just judging on the outside and worrying about what others will think. May I always pause and look deeper!
p.s. for those thinking this is an open invitation to come to our home, it is; however, in order to still prevent cardiac arrest, a little notice is appreciated (I am an imperfect work in progress).